nexa: "The goal is to focus on next year and become a top 3 team in the world"
G2 opened their Champions Cup Finals account with a 16-13 win over BIG on Inferno in Group B's initial matchup, with the French side set to play Hard Legion later on in the group's best-of-three winners' match.
I'd like to start things off by talking a bit about cs_summit 5. You come into the Champions Cup Finals, your final event of the year, off the back of an unexpected loss to mousesports in the summit grand final, where they fielded two stand-ins. What were the team's emotions like after this unpredictable result and how did you reset coming into this tournament?
maLeK: Okay, first, like every sportsman, you get into the emotion of a loss and so the first minutes, maybe the first hour, people are just disappointed and even feel some shame. We should give respect to them for what they did, but this is the first feeling. Afterwards, you regroup and you talk with the team and learn from it - this is the only thing you can do.
We are very lucky because we spend a lot of time together and the team is working very well outside of the game as well, so we are able to speak together and have a common goal. We are all on the same page when we win and we know now that even with a shame loss, we are still sticking together very well. Now we are jumping into this tournament feeling good and just try focus on each game and do as best as we can.
Taking into consideration the amount of time you have spent on the road, with the likes of CS:GO Asia Championships 2019, ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals and cs_summit 5, what has the preparation been like going into this event? Have you had much time to go over anything?
maLeK: We are doing two things that are interesting for us right now. First is getting a lot of experiences with the boys with so many matches and travelling - you need to learn how to do that because tier 1 CS nowadays is what you see on the stream, on game day; but this is also what is happening every day in the daily life of a professional gamer. We are learning how to put in a system that is working for all of us and this year is great to have a lot of data, in the two months we travelled so much, but it is a lot of good information for us next year.
Secondly, yes, we prepared differently. We are definitely not playing CS like most people do at home. What we do is working with ourselves and every day we ask the question of "how do we win today?". And we make sure that we have the answer, make a plan, go into the server and practice with nobody in front of us and just develop a plan and make sure all the executions in our game are clean. After this, we jump into a real game and apply it the best that we can.
In 2020, we will bootcamp and practice a lot to gain some good fundamentals and it will help the team massively, for sure.
Now focusing more on this event, you've just come out of your opening matchup against BIG with a close scoreline (16-13). How important is it for you to get this first win under your belt at the beginning of the tournament?
nexa: I think it is really important we get off on the right foot, especially considering we came from America and it's not always that easy to bring yourself into the tournament fully focused - physically and mentally - on the game, so it was really important we won this match. It's great to be able to play our own game and be happy playing even after the loss at summit. So, for me, I was really happy to see my boys put the summit final behind them and focus only on this event, taking it game by game, day by day.
Next up you have Hard Legion in the Group B winners' match. What do you make of the Russian squad and how do you think you will perform against them?
nexa: I think they are really good; they're underrated. I played them when I was back with CR4ZY in the StarLadder Challengers Stage. It was also a best-of-three and it was a very hard game. They are not to be underestimated as they are a really strong team and they can surprise anyone. If we lost, I wouldn't be extremely surprised, but I expect us to win anyway.
Coming into the Champions Cup Finals you guys are the highest-ranked team, do you see yourselves as the favourites?
nexa: Yeah, there's no doubt about it. It's just... the question is: can we live up to it?
Finally, I would like to talk about your current HLTV Ranking. You currently sit at 11th position just outside of the top 10. What would it mean to the team to break into the top 10 for the end of the year, going into 2020?
nexa: I don't think it makes any difference if we are in the top 15 or the top 10. For me, it would have been great if we finished top 5, and we had our chances but some things just didn't go as planned. We are where we are right now, so it doesn't matter where we finish this year as I know, and the rest of the team knows, this team was planned for the long term for 2020. The goal is to focus on next year and become a top 3 team in the world.